‘Whose Justice? – State or Community? provides a thoughtful and principled perspective on criminal justice at a time when the country seems ready to move on from the rigid attitudes and misguided assumptions that have dominated policy and practice for almost 20 years. The coalition government is committed to devolving power and influence to local communities and citizens, in criminal justice as in other matters, with elected Police and Crime Commissioners as its headline policy and the ‘Big Society’ as its overall vision. Much of the detail is still to emerge, and much will depend on the dynamics and relationships of the new formations and new situations as they develop.
This useful and well written collection of essays identifies the main issues to be addressed – the proper role and limits of the criminal law and the criminal courts; the culture and practice of the criminal justice services; issues relating to religious and ethnic minorities; the special problems of anti-social young people, sexual offenders and domestic violence; and the implications and practicability of empowering communities to take more control of the criminal justice process and the alternatives to it. The authors examine them dispassionately from a variety of perspectives – their own research, the historical background and the more important empirical and theoretical which have been made of the various subjects.
Policy makers and practitioners would do well to reflect on the wisdom that is contained in this book.’
David Faulkner, University of Oxford Centre for Criminological Research